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Text: Edgar Allan Poe, "To — —" (Text 03), "Wilmer" manuscript collection, about 1828

To — —

Should my early life seem
[As well it might] a dream —
Yet I build no faith upon
The King Napoleon —
I look not up afar
To my destiny in a star:


In parting from you now
Thus much I will avow —
There are beings, and have been
Whom my spirit had not seen
Had I let them pass me by
With a dreaming eye —
If my peace hath fled away
In a night — or in a day —
In a vision — or in none —
Is it the less gone?


I am standing 'mid the roar
Of a weather-beaten shore,

And I hold within my hand
Some particles of sand —
How few! and how they creep
Thro' my fingers to the deep!
My early hopes? no — they
Went gloriously away,
Like lightning from the sky
At once — and so will I.


So young? ah! no — not now —
Thou hast not seen my brow,
But they tell thee I am proud —
They lie — they lie aloud —
My bosom beats with shame
At the paltriness of name
With which they dare combine
A feeling such as mine —
Nor Stoic? I am not:
In the terror of my lot
I laugh to think how poor
That pleasure "to endure!"
What! shade of Zeno! — I!
Endure! — no — no — defy.


This present text was at one time in the manuscript collection owned by Lambert A. Wilmer. Unfortunately, this poem was one of a few which no longer appear to survive in manuscript form. These now missing poems are presumed lost, but were were recorded by G. E. Woodberry and E. C. Stedman and subsequently printed in their collection of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe (1895-1896). Mabbott (Poems, 1:582) briefly discusses the manuscript. He generally accepts the readings as printed by Woodberry and Stedman, but also makes some changes based on his own understanding of the poem. For example, Woodberry and Stedman give "Zeus" in place of "Zeno" in the second to last line, but given the printed version, as well as the context in regard to the Stoics, it is presumed that Woodberry and Stedman misread or incorrectly transcribed the word from the manuscript. They also omit the number for stanza four, but apparently in error as the other stanzas are numbered.

[S:1 - MS, 1828 (W&S, 1895, 10:228-229)] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - To -- -- (Text 03)